Pack and Store like the Pros
There are various reasons why anyone might need to put items into storage, from going on extended travels to moving house in two stages with a short term rental between buying and selling.
You’ll get the job done quicker by storing and stacking correctly. And you’ll save time and money, because knowing how to pack and store like a pro means you can get away with a smaller storage area.
Here’s how the professionals go about it:
Choose your storage company with care, and experienced staff will be able to advise on the likely square footage you’ll need. The final estimation is up to you, but their guidance will give you a starting point. You can also look at a few spaces to help you visualise how square feet translate into actual room sizes.
Remember you’re not just looking at floor area. With cardboard boxes stacked up to the ceiling, you can use all the volume in a storage room.
While you’re making initial enquiries on space and availability, check on security, ease of access, opening hours, and if there are trolleys to help with unloading.
Preparing for Transport
Whether you’re storing long or short term, take the same care over packing to keep items in good condition.
• Break larger items down into their component parts. Examples include removing legs from tables, disassembling flat pack furniture, and taking apart bed frames. Keep all the fixings together in a plastic bag and attach this to the items for safekeeping. Use plastic lock ties to bundle legs or poles together, or simply tie or tape them. Be careful about using sticky tapes on delicate surfaces as they can cause damage.
• Protect delicate items and breakables with bubble wrap or acid free tissue paper. At a pinch, use newspaper or cloths such as tea towels. If you’re using bubble wrap, place the bubbles on the inside, next to the item for added cushioning.
• Use strong cardboard boxes, and fill them as full as possible without making them over heavy. It’s a good idea to use smaller boxes for heavy items like books, as this removes the temptation to put in too many. Too much weight in a box makes it hard to lift as well as increasing the risk of the bottom falling out.
• Label everything clearly and specifically, and mark which way up boxes should go along with if they contain fragile items.
• Consider wardrobe boxes if you’re storing hanging clothes. These help prevent deep creasing, and allow air to circulate.
Filling Storage Areas
Efficient use of the available space depends on correct stacking and using every nook and cranny, as well as organising things so you can retrieve them easily. Here are the top tips:
• If possible, make a floor plan of where things are or will be. Months down the line it will help you remember where you put things if you need to retrieve something in particular. You can use old fashioned pen and paper to sketch a plan, or use a dedicated app to list what’s in each box.
• When stacking boxes, remember to have the label of what’s inside facing outwards.
• Store the first things you’ll need last, so they’re closest to the door. Having to move out lots of boxes so you can reach needed items makes extra work and takes up more time.
• Put the biggest items in the room first, and stack boxes of similar sizes together to use the space most efficiently. If you’re stacking boxes high, have the biggest at the bottom. Take a folding step stool so you can reach without stretching, and leave it in the room for later use.
• Don’t forget to use the area inside items like wardrobes and freezers. Vacuum sealed bags are another space saving idea if you’re storing linens or clothes.
• Use blankets, tablecloths, rugs, corrugated cardboard or towels to protect surfaces from damage, and cover larger items with dust sheets.
• Leave fridge and freezer doors open so air can circulate. If you’re protecting their surfaces with coverings, fold a section inside the door so it can’t accidentally close.
• Avoid stacking heavy items on top of soft furnishings such as mattresses or sofas and chairs. You can save space by stacking sofas on their ends. Remember to protect the surface they’re standing on with dustsheets or a mat of cardboard.
• If you have a large space, consider leaving an area free down the middle so you can walk in without moving items.
Start gathering packing materials and cardboard boxes early, then fill them systematically, labelling as you go. And finally, make sure everything is clean and dust free before it’s packed, so it stays in good condition and is ready for use when the time comes to retrieve and unpack your belongings.
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